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    Default Question for the experienced roof men

    Ok, I have searched for about two days now and not found exactly what I am looking for, so here is a question for the well experienced roof men.

    I am putting together a class on light weight truss roofs, both long span and residential. (different sections but need answers for both).

    Upon arrival, before any operations begin, (as in size-up), I need ideas for Identifying what type roof we are dealing with. ( example: Residential: Conventional or Truss ?)
    To be real clear I am looking for ID markings that you can see getting out of your truck that may say, hey I have a truss roof.
    http://www.midsouthrescue.org
    Is it time to change our training yet ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeJunkins View Post
    Ok, I have searched for about two days now and not found exactly what I am looking for, so here is a question for the well experienced roof men.

    I am putting together a class on light weight truss roofs, both long span and residential. (different sections but need answers for both).

    Upon arrival, before any operations begin, (as in size-up), I need ideas for Identifying what type roof we are dealing with. ( example: Residential: Conventional or Truss ?)
    To be real clear I am looking for ID markings that you can see getting out of your truck that may say, hey I have a truss roof.
    If its a "new home" built in 75 or newer..90% chance its a truss.
    Older houses 99% chance its conventional.
    When you cut a hole the truss will be easier...the wood is newer BUT usually thinner. Older "conventional roofs often use "strips of wood 10-14" wide. Newer homes almost always use "sheets". Bottom line....Newer home= Truss.

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    I seem to remember reading or hearing that, if the peak has the built-in vent, it's truss construction. Can anyone confirm this? It might just be coincidence that it's a newer construction technique, along with truss construction...and they are not related for engineering purposes.

    Or, I could just be flat out wrong.

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    I have a "ridge vent" in my house. It's not truss.

    I'm also unaware of any consistent way of knowing on a residential structure from the street. Truss construction is not prevalant in my area for SFD's.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    I have a "ridge vent" in my house. It's not truss.

    I'm also unaware of any consistent way of knowing on a residential structure from the street. Truss construction is not prevalant in my area for SFD's.
    Agreed. I dont know how to tell from the street either. Other than the age of the house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    I have a "ridge vent" in my house. It's not truss.
    "Ridge vent" was the term I was looking for. Thanks.

    I wish I could remember where I got/heard that info...but it's quite apparent it was wrong anyway. Thanks for the correction, Bones. Appreciate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nine3Probie View Post
    "Ridge vent" was the term I was looking for. Thanks.

    I wish I could remember where I got/heard that info...but it's quite apparent it was wrong anyway. Thanks for the correction, Bones. Appreciate it.
    Bones is correct. This where Pre-Planing comes in. What SFD's I have seen with Truss roofs have been in large housing developments where the homes are all laid out the same. This done so the developer can order the trusses and will speed up construction. On the one, SFD built at a time, it is anyones guess.

    IF in doubt (not 110% sure) plan on it being a truss roof.

    T.J.

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    Thanks for the quick replies, any ideas or experiences would be greatly appreciated.
    http://www.midsouthrescue.org
    Is it time to change our training yet ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeJunkins View Post
    Thanks for the quick replies, any ideas or experiences would be greatly appreciated.
    Lee..check this out.. this is a raw video footage of a fire in Millis, Massachusetts on May 30th, 2007.. typical new construction McMansion with lightweight wood construction...

    http://wbztv.com/video/?id=32070@wbz.dayport.com

    The best thing you can do is take your personnel out for district familiarization on a regular basis, making note of the construction types and materials fior any new construction in ttheir districts
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 05-31-2007 at 03:54 PM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Lee..check this out.. this is a raw video footage of a fire in Millis, Massachusetts on May 30th, 2007.. typical new construction McMansion with lightweight wood construction...

    http://wbztv.com/video/?id=32070@wbz.dayport.com

    The best thing you can do is take your personnel out for district familiarization on a regular basis, making note of the construction types and materials fior any new construction in ttheir districts
    Gonzo, thanks that is what you call up to date information, get it while it is still happening.

    The routine familiarization part is a must, I have a whole section dedicated to just that.
    http://www.midsouthrescue.org
    Is it time to change our training yet ?

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    Like the others have said, I have not found a surefire way for any trusses (except bowstring). But having worked in residential construction, the fire service and plans review I've found that often certain styles of homes are much more prone to be trusses.

    I don't completely agree with "when in doubt, figure its a truss" if you have a policy of not going on or under a truss that's on fire. We could write off too many SFD's by not popping a hole in the roof for top floor/attic area fires. That being said, I find vertical ventialtion to be one of the most overused tactics in this business. But when you need it, it's gotta get done.

    Some commonalities in our area (may be very different in other areas?):

    1. Lower pitched roofs with long spans are often truss due to the high cost of premium length lumber(over 16 ft). Some rafter type roofs will be built with knee walls and rafters sistered together, but this is less common. We find it rare to see a steep pitched roof built from trusses in our area, but they do make them.
    2. Truss roofs are cheapest when there is no useable space in the attic. Attic trusses cost much more than normal ones. Both are cheaper than rafter and ridge beam construction. Roofs with true useable space dormers are often rafter/ridge construction as the trusses don't allow for a large floor area. But this can be decieving too, when the owner wants a two story look or has a dormer built over the front door for light.
    3. Highend homes in our area are much more likely to have rafter/ridge construction. I think this will taper off as it seems to have alsewhere in the U.S.
    4. If there are "dips" between the "rafters" at the peak, it usually indicates the lack of a ridge beam, indicating a truss system.
    5. You can pop a hole or tear out a peice of soffit to reveal the "rafter ends" to see what type of roof construction is present there. This might be a good idea when you're not certain but really need the vertical vent. Should be a breeze where the soffit is wide and now often made from Luan or PVC sheets.
    6. I think a Truss Marking Ordinance is the best way to safely identify truss roofs in the future. A decent relaionship with the building office could garner this info from the constrcution phase to be entered into the dispatch database or onboard computer. This is the direction we're heading in.
    7. Most of the truss constrcution we see is in multiple dwellings and commercial roofs.

    In the end it seems that the best way to know is to truly know by going out and seeing what's in your district. I'm sure that houses are built different here in the northeast than in Texas. Between knowing your district, a truss marking ordinance and tearing into the soffit you can usually find out fairly quickly what you're up against.

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    As part of your size up , why not ask the homeowner if they have a truss roof ( assuming of course that the homeowner is standing there ). Most people will know if they have a truss roof and even if they don't know , it didn't hurt to ask.

    If I suspect a truss roof I send a crew inside to the top floor of the house , opposite side from the fire , and poke a hole through the ceiling to get a look into the attic. This practice is both safer and faster. I NEVER send guys onto the roof for the purpose of finding out if it's a truss or not.

    Beware of engineered floor joists / beams. Most commonly refered to as "TGI floor joists" They are every bit the hazard that a truss roof is.

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    Knowing your area is the best way. You should have a general idea where your newer neighborhoods are being built. Know your district.

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    You have to get out and look at construction in the area. If you haven't in the past their is little you can do to tell for sure. Value of the home isn't even a for sure. In my area some very expensive custom homes have truss and some small inexpensive homes are stick built.
    A ridge vent has nothing to do with truss vs stick.
    While probably not the info you wanted to hear, the only way to tell for sure is to see it going up.

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    Thanks for the quick replies, pretty much the same as what we have here, I thought maybe someone might know something else.

    I am looking at the idea of the first man in, make an inspection hole in the ceiling at the point of entry were we can see into the attic but not affect any ventilation. (much like SRS in extrication, peel & peek),

    Let me know your thoughts, or procedures.
    http://www.midsouthrescue.org
    Is it time to change our training yet ?

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    [QUOTE=RESQBOSS244;818270]As part of your size up , why not ask the homeowner if they have a truss roof ( assuming of course that the homeowner is standing there ). Most people will know if they have a truss roof and even if they don't know , it didn't hurt to ask.

    If I suspect a truss roof I send a crew inside to the top floor of the house , opposite side from the fire , and poke a hole through the ceiling to get a look into the attic. This practice is both safer and faster. I NEVER send guys onto the roof for the purpose of finding out if it's a truss or not.

    Beware of engineered floor joists / beams. Most commonly refered to as "TGI floor joists" They are every bit the hazard that a truss roof is.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks I do have a complete section on many types.
    http://www.midsouthrescue.org
    Is it time to change our training yet ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADSNWFLD View Post
    While probably not the info you wanted to hear, the only way to tell for sure is to see it going up.
    Take a look at the soffits outside and if they're within the reach of a hook, pop a hole to expose the rafter tails or truss ends. This is easily done on houses with wide soffits and/or newer ones with soffit vents. Certainly cutting an inspection hole at the edge of the roof before going on it will work too, but that requires a ladder to the roof and bringing the saw where just one FF with a decent hook an expose a small section of the soffit area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeJunkins View Post
    Ok, I have searched for about two days now and not found exactly what I am looking for, so here is a question for the well experienced roof men.

    I am putting together a class on light weight truss roofs, both long span and residential. (different sections but need answers for both).

    Upon arrival, before any operations begin, (as in size-up), I need ideas for Identifying what type roof we are dealing with. ( example: Residential: Conventional or Truss ?)
    To be real clear I am looking for ID markings that you can see getting out of your truck that may say, hey I have a truss roof.

    Lee...I work on the other end of the metroplex in a Dallas suburb, so the construction types you see are the same as we have. I taught a class on building construction earlier this year. We basically taught that there is not a litmus test for determining the roof structure from the street, however, there are certainly some indicators to guide you:
    • Age of Structure
    • Occupancy Type
    • Roof shape (uniform or non-uniform peaks and valleys)

    Of course, the newer the construction, the more likely you will see lightweight construction features. The occupancy type will give you an idea of the floor plan...you can count on trusses in most of our strip malls, churches, bowling alleys (Precious Faith Temple was a scissor truss), convenience stores, fast-food restaurants, and office parks. Newer apartments will have trusses in the roof and between the floors. Single family residences (especially the high-dollar stuff) with high peak roofs and irregular roof shapes will NOT have trusses usually in the roofing system, BUT they will usually have lightweight construction between floors and sometimes for the ceiling joists.

    After the teaching portion of the class, we finished the class going through slides of buildings in our city. We had them "guess" the building construction...whether it was wood, steel, etc....lightweight or conventional...unusual characteristics, hazards, etc... Our officers were correct most of the time. The training division had already gone into the buildings we had slides of to confirm hunches on construction type and look for unusual things.

    FYI...we found a fair number of truss rain roofs sitting on old conventional flat roofs. If we have them, I'm sure you guys do too.

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    kayakking,

    Thanks, yes most everything is the same on this side of town. I develop training aids to get out to smaller departments that don't have the funding. I have been about a year working on this one, and I am trying to include things that are going to be found in all parts of the country, but here in the DFW area we seem to have all of them mixed with in blocks of each other.
    It surprised me that you mentioned the Precious Faith Temple was a scissor truss, That was the inspiration for this class. That is the department I am from.

    FYI...we found a fair number of truss rain roofs sitting on old conventional flat roofs. If we have them, I'm sure you guys do too.

    Ft Worth was big on ranch style homes in the 1960s, flat roofs, hundreds of them have been remodeled and have trusses sitting on top of them.
    I have pictures in the class of the houses built around the Army base back in the 1930s that have no studs in the walls and truss roofs, and they have been remodeled to look like modern houses.
    http://www.midsouthrescue.org
    Is it time to change our training yet ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeJunkins View Post
    kayakking,

    Thanks, yes most everything is the same on this side of town. I develop training aids to get out to smaller departments that don't have the funding. I have been about a year working on this one, and I am trying to include things that are going to be found in all parts of the country, but here in the DFW area we seem to have all of them mixed with in blocks of each other.
    It surprised me that you mentioned the Precious Faith Temple was a scissor truss, That was the inspiration for this class. That is the department I am from.

    FYI...we found a fair number of truss rain roofs sitting on old conventional flat roofs. If we have them, I'm sure you guys do too.

    Ft Worth was big on ranch style homes in the 1960s, flat roofs, hundreds of them have been remodeled and have trusses sitting on top of them.
    I have pictures in the class of the houses built around the Army base back in the 1930s that have no studs in the walls and truss roofs, and they have been remodeled to look like modern houses.

    Lee,

    Three of our firefighter were also vol's with River Oaks when that incident occured. One of them put together a great presentation of the incident that he use to teach at FDIC. He encourages the presentation to be shared...it is a PowerPoint with instructional notes included. I have a copy and would be happy to share it with you.

    A couple of us ran at the Memorial Day Firefighter 5K last weekend that is a fundraiser in their honor. Ft. Worth FD had a good turnout.

    GH

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayakking View Post
    Lee,

    Three of our firefighter were also vol's with River Oaks when that incident occured. One of them put together a great presentation of the incident that he use to teach at FDIC. He encourages the presentation to be shared...it is a PowerPoint with instructional notes included. I have a copy and would be happy to share it with you.

    A couple of us ran at the Memorial Day Firefighter 5K last weekend that is a fundraiser in their honor. Ft. Worth FD had a good turnout.

    GH
    That would be great, I knew about the ppt but have not been able to find a copy of it. all my contact info is on the website.

    One of my board of directors (Ray) works on the 5K run, at 60 yrs I am in very good shape but 5K is a little much.

    I was with the Sansom Park Dept. came in just after the fire.

    Ft Worth had a good turnout at the Memorial this year too. (New Chief)
    Last edited by LeeJunkins; 06-01-2007 at 02:09 PM.
    http://www.midsouthrescue.org
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